In the Derby Square area of downtown, near Old Town Hall, there once stood a fine estate built by Elias Haskett Derby. The mansion's plans were prepared by Charles Bullfinch (1763-1844) and modified by Samuel McIntire (1757-1811).
It was laid out with fine walks and gardens and extended from Essex Street to a terrace which overhung the river. The mansion was completed and occupied only a few months before his death. It was built in 1799, was of wood, three stories in height and cost $80,000. It was enriched by a conservatory and large and valuable library.
After Derby's death in 1799, due to the expense of maintenance, his son Elias Hasket Derby, Jr.(who had moved to Charlestown in 1811 and failed to sell the house) had the mansion demolished in 1815. He then transferred the land to his brother John Derby III, and his brother-in-law Benjamin Pickman Jr. "In 1816, they donated the tract to the Town of Salem with the condition that a new brick Town Hall and Market House be built there" according to Tolles in his book "Architecture in Salem."
The Derby family members conveyed the land to the town to be used for the construction of the market house, now called the Old Town Hall, which still occupies that site today.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - Elias H. Derby
- Old Naumkeag Line drawing on page ii (introduction)